The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Using the Online Version of Excel

small business excel online

If you are familiar with the desktop version of Excel, you may think that switching to the online version is unnecessary or even a step down from the desktop version. However, Excel Online offers various benefits that the desktop version does not. For one, it’s completely free. It also allows you to sync your spreadsheets to external online apps, which in many cases can automate your workflow. It also provides a great means of collaboration with your co-workers or employees.

In this post, we’ll walk through how to use Excel Online and discuss the benefits of switching to that version.

How to Use Excel Online

To find Excel Online, click the following Office link. Once you get to this link, select <Excel>, sign into your Microsoft account, and create a new spreadsheet. To bring your desktop spreadsheets into the online version, use, a file hosting service operated by Microsoft. All you need to do is open and drag your Excel files from your desktop to

However, if you want the edits that you make online to transfer to your desktop files, use the OneDrive app. Once you download the app, your files will save automatically to the Cloud. When you make any type of edit in a file using Excel Online, it will automatically transfer to your desktop version.

Excel Online vs. Excel Desktop

Excel Online has the same display and support as the desktop version. They also offer similar functions and features, especially those for collecting, assessing, and visualizing data. The desktop version of Excel includes 471 functions, while the online version includes over 400. To see the complete list of features offered by the online version vs. the desktop version, check out the following chart provided by Office.

Excel Online Additional Features

Excel Online provides a variety of add-on features that the desktop version does not. These extra features are the reason why many users end up choosing the online version over the desktop version (in addition to the fact that it is free.).


By using Excel Online, you can develop a survey directly within the site. To do this, select <New> then <Forms for Excel>. You will then be prompted to name your survey and click <Create>. Once your survey has been created, you can add questions to the survey by clicking <Add Question>. There are a variety of different types of questions that you can add, including Choice, Text, or Date questions. You can then see a preview of the survey before clicking <Submit>. If you frequently create customer surveys, Excel Online may be the right choice for you.

Install Add-Ins

There are a variety of add-ins that Excel Online offers, including those that help with productivity, visuals, finances, and data analysis. These add-ins are developed for the sole purpose of making your life easier. Go Skills provides a great list of the 50 best excel add-ins that will save you time.  

To find add-ins, go to <Insert> and click <Office add-ins>. You can then find add-ins based on category or name. Once you install the add-in, make sure to click <start> to begin using it.

Share Your Spreadsheets

Excel Online allows you to easily collaborate with your employees or co-workers. To share your spreadsheets, simply click <Share>, which is in the top right corner of the online version. A pop‑up will appear, allowing you to provide either Edit or View Only permissions. You can then create a link to share with others.

Leave a Comment

Excel Online also allows you to leave feedback and share this feedback with others within a spreadsheet. This is often much more productive and efficient than sharing feedback over the phone or via email. To add a comment, simply select a cell and right-click. Then click <Insert Comment>.

If these features would be useful for you or if you simply want to save money, you should consider using Excel Online. You can always give it a try and see if it is a useful tool for your small business.  

*Free standard installation applies to new Lease subscribers only. Not valid with Purchase option. Limited-time offer.